• River Cruises - The Po

    River Cruises - The Po

    By Derek Swanson (8 June 2009)

    The River Po starts in the western Italian Alps to the south of Turin; it is 405 miles (652 km) long and terminates at the Adriatic Sea through a wide delta. The Po has many tributaries from the surrounding mountains and the confluence of the rivers Po and Ticino can be seen quite clearly in FS2004 from a high altitude. There are a small number of airports along the Po with Turin the nearest airport to the source and Ferrara the nearest to the delta at the coast. This flight used FS2004, FScene Europe, Italy Mesh scenery, and an FS2002 river width enhancement NEWRIVER.ZIP.


    A good starting point is Turin (LIMF) - a medium sized airport with one runway. The river can be picked up as it flows through the city of Turin and following it southwest takes you to the mountains. There are many tributaries joining the Po here but tracking it into the Alps is quite easy. What I think is the source (as depicted in FS2004) is way up a long valley. In the right plane, the Alps are a great place to play around on your way back to Turin. Once back over the airport, the Po is very easy to spot and navigate as it travels east from Turin, since it flows through a very wide and flat plain.

    At the confluence with the Ticino, a worthwhile detour is to follow the Ticino north to Malpensa (LIMC), a large and busy dual runway airport west of Milan. I saw quite a bit of early morning traffic queuing to take off. The Ticino flows out of Lake Maggiore which has a small airport at the far end. This area is worthy of some exploration since there are lots of valleys to play in.


    Following the Ticino back to the Po you might fancy a touch-n-go at Cameri airport (LIMN) and some low flying over the Ticino's many bridges which, sadly, are too close to the water to fly under. After the confluence, the Po becomes a very broad river and there is little sightseeing of note. The next place for a stop is Piacenza military base (LIMS), which is quite a way south of the town of the same name. This is approximately the halfway point for the Po on its way to the Adriatic and from here it winds considerably offering a good challenge for fast jet-jocks to follow it closely at high speed. The next bit of river is rather uninteresting but if you fancy a deviation there are airports at Parma (LIMP) 11 miles south or Verona (LIME) 30 miles north.


    The next major city on the Po is Ferrara which has a very small airport (LIPF) to the south of the city. As is so often the case in FS2004, this airport is surrounded by autogen houses and trees which create a tricky approach to both runways (9 and 27). Taking off again poses similar problems but winding the engines up to full power before releasing the brakes makes things a little easier. Beyond Ferrara it's about 40 miles to the Po's delta at the Adriatic Sea. The delta is made up of several rather uninteresting islands and unless you're in a float-plane or flying boat, the nearest place to land is Venice (40 miles north), which offers a choice of either the small airport of San Nicolo (LIPV) by the entrance to the lagoon or the much larger Marco Polo (Tessera - LIPZ) on the mainland.

    If you want to make this flight there are other freeware and payware sceneries relating to this part of Italy that could make the flight a little more interesting, but for me the best parts are those Alpine valleys.

    Happy Flying.

    Derek Swanson
    [email protected]

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